Brewing is fundamentally a process where each batch has a similar life cycle and this can lead to the development of a lot of brewing traditions. One of the ones that I observe is to always declare “End of an era” when I get to the last of any brew. Sometimes it’s just for me, others it’s just a way to let my brewing partners and friends know that the keg is kicked. But I always feel a moment of sadness when that last bit of foam spurts out of the keg; gone from the world is something very real that will never be here again. My brew system isn’t perfect like that of the big boys, and I understand that the particular experience that was this brew won’t likely ever come back. I might get pretty close, but some way, somehow, we’ll never be here again. I guess I just get a little sentimental.
So when I heard the keg sputter out that last bit of foam from the Whale of an Ale IPA tonight, I had a somber moment as I reflected on its impermanence. Much like life, a great batch only lasts so long, but it has the opportunity to make brighter the lives of those around it, if only in a small way. I couldn’t help but smile, and as I took my nearly empty glass (the last inch of the dregs that made its way into the bottom was mostly foam anyway) into the other room, I told Mim “End of an era” and we paid our little moment of respect. But our troubles were brief, as the bubbling carboys in the next room will be our next story to tell. Someday I’ll look back in the brew log and think, that Whale of an Ale, there will never be anything quite like that again.
A happy new year of brewing to all of you.